13 June 2021
Scripture: Matthew 24 verse 4-14: And Jesus answered and said unto them, take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Matthew 24 verse 37 – 42: But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
It is with great joy as believers that we can look forward to the return of Jesus Christ. The scripture paints a picture of what the world would look like and what would be happening when He returns. We can profess and say, without a shadow of doubt, that things will get worse; and that is according to scripture. When we look over the last few decades, we see how things have deteriorated. Science has advanced and there have been breakthroughs. But yet, things are looking worse than what it did. This word is especially for Christians living in a godless, pagan world. Sometimes we miss the point of this scripture and what Jesus is trying to tell us.
People often speak about the end times and are fascinated with it. Jesus told the disciples then that they would not know the day or the hour. But today, we try to decipher scripture verses as a puzzle but Christ had not intended this. We have two problems with interpreting this scripture:
● Scriptures are often interpreted from a wrong point of view.
We speak about apocalyptic scripture such as this one but this was not a scripture verse about how things will end or when He will return. This passage tells us WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING UNTIL HE RETURNS. This is what we keep missing. We become so wrapped up in what things are going to look like then but we forget what we are going to do in the interim. How do we live our lives until Christ comes? Interpretation is often times, flawed. This was meant as a way for believers to live their lives according to what Christ wants them to.
● It is about HOW it is interpreted.
When this verse speaks about this generation, it doesn’t just speak about that specific people. The word Genia can actually be likened to race or people. So, it extends far beyond just the Jewish people. This word says that they will be alive when the Lord comes. Yet many of these generations at that time have died out already but the nation of Israel continues. All this is said and Jesus paints this picture for us. He warns us that things will get bad and we don’t like to hear this. We like to hear that everything will get better. How do we make sense of all this?
This scripture speaks on two different platforms:
1. The description of the culture.
2. The prescription and direction for the church.
The description of the culture pertains to how things will look when Christ returns. Verse 4 to 14 mentions wars. The political spectrum is addressed. We see wars today happening around the world. People are dying. This scripture warns us of the threat of imminent war. And it’s happening today. It happened back then and still now. We shouldn’t be panicked for the end times but instead live the way God wants us to live. Even in the natural realm, God said there would be famines, pestilences, earthquakes. And they are happening today. Let’s take the Covid-19 Pandemic plaguing the world today, earthquakes happening in places they had never occurred in before, tsunamis by the multitude and even volcanoes erupting. Among the believers we speak about the Lord coming again but the focus should be how we live our lives before He returns.
Morally Jesus addresses it too in saying lawlessness will abound. This is translated often to inequities or sin and not knowing God when doing so. The scripture says people would wilfully go against God. In definition sin is a wilful transgression against a known law of God. Today, people wilfully disobey God. They decide to not obey God. The moral decay of our society is evident.
On a spiritual front, there is mention made of false prophets. Today, people are following charismatic ways. There are more people joining cults today than ever before. They go along with what tickles their ear. These false prophets will arise and tell people many things and Jesus said this 2000 years ago. Social media plays a huge part in what we believe and choose to follow and when we weigh it up against scripture, we see how we are being misled.
There has been a lack of response to God’s word in this time of the pandemic. People who have fever for the Lord have suddenly grown cold. Jesus addresses this in scripture saying that this is what the community will look like when I return. The gospel shall be preached in all the world, Jesus said. It’s a mission still relevant to us today but we need to ask ourselves, are we involved in what Christ wants us to be involved in? the mission remains pertinent for todays’ day and age. But we become caught up in our own world and forget why we’ve been called. The end will come but we have a responsibility, to tell the world Jesus saves.
Jesus addresses the social issue. In the time of Noah, when they were warned, they continued to do what they did. Business as usual. We might not be taking the warnings as serious as we should. This mandate remains – Jesus says this is how it will look when I return. We don’t see the earnestness of the mission God has given us. We don’t head the warnings and continue to do what we’ve been doing every day. He gives us direction until He comes again. He did not just inform them how it will look but gave direction how to live.
1. We need to be prepared.
If the Lord comes today, are we ready? Is your house in order? Are you prepared to meet your maker today? We make plans for the future and we want to do what we need to do but are we prepared if He comes? We do not know the day nor the hour. If we knew, we would do what we want to do, live how we want to live and make right at the eleventh hour. This is not a question anyone can answer but you. There won’t be any announcement. He will come like a thief in the night. We can be so focused on the signs, but we lose focus on if we are doing the right things.
2. A call for stewardship.
How are you using what you have and what belongs to you and what God has entrusted in you? How are we utilising this until He returns? Everything we haver is the Lord’s. We are stewards of everything we have. We need to be good stewards of our time, resources and finances. What will last – your car, your house, your money or status - or what we do for Christ? While we wait for Christ’s return, there are people who are in need, who need to hear His word and be supported. Has the Lord not done something for you that you can testify of? It is time now that you be a good steward with what God has entrusted in you.
3. There needs to be expectancy.
Expecting the return of the Lord and being prepared are two different things. With expectancy comes preparation but excitement too. It brings joy and build up of excitement. We need to live like this. We cannot just prepare. We need to expect Him every day so that the excitement would exude. We need to live in a way that people can see; the Lord is coming. Titus 2 verse 13 says if we love Him, we will love His return.
Somehow, we lack that excitement for Him today. We know what the end times will look like because Jesus told us. We will face all types of persecution. But be prepared for when Jesus comes. Expect His return. We need to live as if Jesus is returning. This is not the end – Christ is returning.
Kingdom activity needs to continue – not yours, but God’s. this building should not constrain us. Through our life and obedience kingdom activity must continue. People need to know. While we wait on the Lord’s return, let us be actively involved in God’s kingdom. Jesus is coming again. When Jesus speaks of this moral decay of society, we look at post modernity and that it speaks about the belief that truth was created by those wanting to oppress. Now they want to destroy all truth because it was put there to keep us in line. But one thing will remain true till the end of time and that is God’s word. What He said all those decades ago, remains today.
We need to live in a way that people can see; the Lord is coming. Somehow, we lack that excitement for Him today. We know what the end times will look like because Jesus told us. We will face all types of persecution. But be prepared for when Jesus comes. Expect His return. We need to live as if Jesus is returning. This is not the end – Christ is returning.
Word and Preaching by Rev. Quinton Williams
Blog post by Abigail Adams